Late in the second period, Martin Brodeur stood on the Staples Center ice and vented his displeasure towards referee Dan O’Halloran.
Normally, it would be an innocuous moment that takes place literally hundreds of times over the course of a season.
In Brodeur’s case, the future Hall of Famer’s uncharacteristic outburst in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final was nothing less than a metaphorical act of surrender.
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The Devils are on the verge of being swept in a Stanley Cup playoff series for the first time in franchise history after being routed, 4-0, by the Kings last night. The Devils trail the best-of-7 series three games to none. Game 4 is tomorrow night at Staples Center.
Alec Martinez, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves to record his third shutout of the Stanley Cup playoffs, tying him with Henrik Lundqvist and Mike Smith for the most in the 2012 playoffs.
Brodeur stopped 17-of-21 shots.
The Devils had opportunities to take a lead in the first period but were unable to take advantage of three power plays, including a 5-on-3 spanning 1:01.
While the Devils did not take advantage of the opportunities proffered them, the Kings buried their chances.
Martinez scored the game-winning goal 5:40 into the second period when he poked the puck, laying under Brodeur, into the net. Brodeur was irate, believing that he had froze the puck and that it deserved a stoppage.
From there, the Kings surged. Kopitar finished a two-on-one with Dustin Brown for his eighth goal of the playoffs. Carter and Williams scored in the third.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.